TWO Spaniards, five Brits and an Irishman are among the final 100 candidates for the one-way, never-to-return, Mars One Project that aims to establish a permanent human colony on the planet Mars.
More than 200,000 people worldwide applied for a place on the controversial $6 billion (€5.25 billion) one-way mission that is scheduled for the year 2024 and will be filmed for a reality television series.
The 100 remaining candidates were announced this Monday (February 16) by the Dutch-run Mars One Project. They will now be tested in groups on their responses to stressful situations before discovering if they have made the cut for the final group of 24, who will leave for Mars and never return to the planet Earth.
One of the British candidates, astronomy student Hannah Earnshaw, aged 23, told The Guardian: “Human space exploration has always interested me, so the opportunity to be one of the people involved was really appealing. The future of humanity is in space.
“My family is pretty thrilled. They’re really happy for me. Obviously it’s going to be challenging, leaving Earth and not coming back. I’ve had support from my friends and family and we can still communicate via the internet.”
As one of the final 50 men and 50 women, 21-year-old student Ryan MacDonald from Derby said that the most important thing in life is to leave a legacy. “A lot of people do that by having a child, having a family,” he said.
“For me this would be my legacy. Hundreds of years down the line who is going to know who was the President of the United States? Everyone will remember who were the first four people who stepped on Mars.”
Before any humans are sent to the Red Planet, the Mars One Project needs to secure funds to send a robot landing device and communications satellite to the planet, and then send a rover and life support systems.
The project has drawn much criticism since its announcement, and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that a manned mission to Mars would result in the death of the entire crew after 68 days.